How would you define freedom? Is it a political thing? Does it have the force of law? Is it a state of mind? Is it defined entirely by the country you inhabit, or the company you keep?
Paul talks about freedom almost exclusively in terms of spiritual matters. For him, freedom is the end result of salvation and forgiveness as we leave the enslavement of sin and death and live under the openness of God’s grace.
Romans 6 (The Message)
15-18 So, since we’re out from under the old tyranny, does that mean we can live any old way we want? Since we’re free in the freedom of God, can we do anything that comes to mind? Hardly. You know well enough from your own experience that there are some acts of so-called freedom that destroy freedom. Offer yourselves to sin, for instance, and it’s your last free act. But offer yourselves to the ways of God and the freedom never quits. All your lives you’ve let sin tell you what to do. But thank God you’ve started listening to a new master, one whose commands set you free to live openly in his freedom!
OK, hang on a minute, Paul. Do you mean to say that we have just traded one master (sin) for another master (God) who gives commands?
19 I’m using this freedom language because it’s easy to picture. You can readily recall, can’t you, how at one time the more you did just what you felt like doing—not caring about others, not caring about God—the worse your life became and the less freedom you had? And how much different is it now as you live in God’s freedom, your lives healed and expansive in holiness?
God’s freedom comes with some conditions. For one, you will be healed. And your life will be expansive in holiness. I don’t know about you, but I think I can live with that.
20-21 As long as you did what you felt like doing, ignoring God, you didn’t have to bother with right thinking or right living, or right anything for that matter. But do you call that a free life? What did you get out of it? Nothing you’re proud of now. Where did it get you? A dead end.
22-23 But now that you’ve found you don’t have to listen to sin tell you what to do, and have discovered the delight of listening to God telling you, what a surprise! A whole, healed, put-together life right now, with more and more of life on the way! Work hard for sin your whole life and your pension is death. But God’s gift is real life, eternal life, delivered by Jesus, our Master.
A whole, healed, put-together life is the freedom-gift God offers. His gift is real life, eternal life, given to all who choose to receive his offer of salvation and believe in him.
Where is God offering you freedom from sin right now? Are you ignoring him? Living a life under the tyranny of sin results in less and less freedom. You may think you are living life on your own terms, but the end result is nothing you can be proud of. It’s a dead end.
Choose true freedom.